It’s heart-wrenching to think that a nursing home resident could become the victim of abuse. Staff members are supposed to provide daily care and assistance to their patients to meet their needs. Unfortunately, some take advantage of these vulnerable individuals and cause injuries.

The San Bernardino personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw know how devastating it is to learn your loved one has been abused by someone you thought you could trust. You face an uphill legal battle and should not be forced to take on a case alone. Our legal team can represent you and fight by your side for the maximum compensation possible. You should not be financially responsible for medical bills and other expenses if your loved one’s actions didn’t contribute to their injury.

Older adults living in nursing homes are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect than other age groups. It’s easier to take advantage of a dependent person. When someone relies on others to help them dress, eat, walk, and shower, the caretaker has total control over their wellbeing. It’s easier to abuse a resident that can’t fight back or doesn’t have the cognitive awareness to recognize what’s happening.

The San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers of OnderLaw can take over the legal aspects of the case, so the responsibility does not burden you. Your only job should be to help your loved one heal and find a safe place for them to reside. If you want to learn more about our services, call for a free consultation today.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect?

Nursing home abuse involves an intentional or unintentional act used to harm a patient emotionally, physically, sexually, or financially. Six main forms of abuse can occur to an elderly resident in a nursing home.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when a caretaker causes bodily injury or death to a patient by using physical force. Common types of physical abuse include:

  • Pushing
  • Kicking
  • Physically restraining
  • Grabbing

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse inflicts emotional distress or pain on a person through verbal or nonverbal acts. Some examples include:

  • Yelling
  • Harassing
  • Humiliating
  • Intimidating

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse, also known as financial exploitation, involves the unlawful use of a resident’s finances. Common types include:

  • Withdrawing money from an ATM
  • Forging a signature of financial documents
  • Stealing money from the person’s room
  • Using credit cards without permission


Neglect results from a caregiver failing to provide their patient with basic needs. Common instances of neglect include:

  • Withholding water or food
  • Leaving a bed-ridden patient unattended for prolonged periods
  • Failing to treat physical injuries adequately
  • Allowing the resident to live in a dirty bedroom

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse happens when someone uses coercion, force, or threats to engage in sexual acts with the victim. This can take various forms, including:

  • Rape
  • Forced nudity
  • Groping
  • Showing pornographic materials


It is considered abandonment when someone takes responsibility for the care of an older adult but intentionally deserts them. Common examples include:

  • Failing to administer daily required medications to a patient
  • Leaving someone on the floor after a fall
  • Ignoring someone’s request for assistance
  • Providing food that doesn’t meet dietary or nutritional needs

An injury or illness can result from any type of abuse. Patients typically don’t have the strength to defend themselves during an attack. Their fragile bodies make them more susceptible to severe injuries and even death.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

If you believe your loved one has become the victim of abuse, there are warning signs you should look for. Some are easier to notice than others. However, you should pay close attention and note anything unusual. You are the only advocate your family member has, and it’s up to you to ensure their safety.

The most common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Concussion
  • Sudden loss of mobility
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition
  • Low self-esteem
  • Burns, bruises, and cuts
  • New or worsening depression, anxiety, or another mental illness
  • Infections
  • Cognitive decline
  • Behavioral changes
  • Fear of a specific person
  • Unusual financial activity
  • Torn or bloody clothes
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities
  • Dehydration
  • Damaged personal property, such as eyeglasses
  • Mood swings

It can be a challenge to recover from abuse at any age. Even if physical injuries heal, older adults can be left with emotional scars that have long-term effects. Many elderly patients develop depression and have a hard time trusting others. They may fear moving into another nursing home and becoming the victim of abuse again. You can do some things to protect them and try to prevent this form of mistreatment from happening again.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect

Your loved one’s safety is of the utmost importance after abuse occurs. The first thing you should do is remove them from the facility immediately if they are in physical danger. Bring them to the hospital for treatment of any injuries. If the doctor recommends follow-up care, follow their orders. You must ensure your family member receives the ongoing treatment they need to heal.

You should also maintain any records you receive, such as physician bills, surgical reports, and imaging test results. Medical evidence is necessary to show when the injury happened and a timeline of the necessary treatment. Without this documentation, you will have a hard time proving that the injury resulted from abuse or neglect.

When you move them out of the facility, it would also be helpful to take pictures. If there’s damage on the property, such as missing handrails, uneven flooring, or leaking pipes, take photos. Pictures of dirty living conditions, soiled sheets, and other sanitary issues could also serve as evidence.

Hire an attorney immediately after you discover the abuse. One of the San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers of OnderLaw can represent your relative in their case and pursue the maximum compensation they deserve. Handling an insurance claim or lawsuit can be complicated, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with legal procedures or state laws. We will complete every step of your claim or case for you, so you can focus on getting your loved one the care they need.

A number of resources are also available for you to reach out to for help. You can call the San Bernardino Police Department at (909) 384-5742 to file a police report.

You could also reach out to the long-term care ombudsman in your county. They advocate for nursing home residents and investigate complaints of abuse. The number for the San Bernardino County ombudsman is (866) 229-0284.

Adult Protective Services is another excellent resource you can use to report abuse. Call their hotline at (877) 565-2020.

If you believe your relative’s situation is dire or life-threatening in any way, call 911.

Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Claims

The compensation you receive in a claim against the nursing home could compensate for the losses your loved one suffered, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical impairment or disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damage to personal property

If you file a lawsuit, you might also be allowed to pursue exemplary damages. Instead of compensating your family member’s losses, an award of these damages aims to punish the defendant for their actions and deter similar future behavior. However, a jury requires that you provide clear and convincing evidence of the at-fault party’s malice, oppression, or fraud to receive this financial award.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse rates are high in places like nursing homes. One in three staff members has admitted to abusing a resident. Approximately one in six people in the 60 years and older age group have experienced some type of abuse while living in a nursing home.

The prevalence of abuse older adults and their proxies have reported in assisted-living facilities are:

  • Physical abuse – 14.1%
  • Psychological abuse – 33.4%
  • Sexual abuse – 1.9%
  • Financial abuse – 13.8%
  • Neglect – 11.6%

According to a study, California has one of the highest numbers of complaints of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the country. The state also ranked number 49 for overall best protections against elder abuse, one of the worst on the list. Researchers used three main factors to determine these rankings: prevalence, resources, and protections. These statistics show the unfortunate consequences older adults must face when living in a nursing home.

Why Choose OnderLaw?

At OnderLaw, we have a team of San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers who care about our clients. We will prioritize you and your case to help your loved one get through this traumatic experience and move forward with your life. You will receive the one-on-one attention and personalized legal services you need.

OnderLaw holds an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating a law firm can receive. We take pride in our reputation and the recognition we have received from prestigious organizations, such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Super Lawyers.

Contact Us

If your loved one has been the victim of abuse in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw. We will remain in your corner from start to finish of the legal process and work hard to try to reach a favorable outcome in your case.

Our San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyers are available 24/7 to speak with you. Call now for a free consultation.